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Portugal sink Swiss to secure semi-final spot

Switzerland 0-1 Portugal
Luís Mata scored the only goal as his side recorded back-to-back Group B victories and so booked their place in the semi-finals.

Portugal sink Swiss to secure semi-final spot
Portugal sink Swiss to secure semi-final spot ©UEFA.com

Portugal have booked their place in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship semi-finals after overcoming Switzerland 1-0 in Paola.

Substitute Luís Mata's 54th-minute goal proved decisive, the simplest of finishes putting to the sword a stubborn Switzerland side, who had their fare share of chances, as Portugal recorded back-to-back Group B victories.

Portugal began the contest in an assured manner befitting a team who had eased past Scotland their opening match, though the first opportunities of note fell to Switzerland after two defensive lapses midway through the first half.

Swiss striker Albian Ajeti was the man that spurned both openings. First, the No9 headed over unchallenged from Derek Kutesa's superb delivery after a wayward back pass had gifted Switzerland a corner. Moments later, Portugal keeper Pedro Silva's skewed clearance allowed Switzerland a long throw that Ajeti collected neatly, but he fired off target after turning his marker.

Emílio Peixe's Portugal recovered, though they found goalkeeper Gregor Kobel a formidable obstacle as they hunted a half-time lead. Djibril Sow's drive was tipped over by the Swiss No1, who then frustrated Alexandre Silva, making himself big to block a fierce effort at his back post following a scramble.

After the interval Switzerland upped the tempo and Pedro Silva was kept busy, but Yves Débonnaire's side were the architects of their own downfall when Portugal grabbed the initiative against the run of play. Within 60 seconds of his introduction, Mata relished a routine tap-in at the back post after Switzerland had played their way into trouble. Alexandre Silva stole possession, fed the overlapping Diogo Gonçalves and he squared for a grateful Mata.

Harun Alpsoy blazed over from range and an unfortunate Ajeti could have earned his team their second draw of the campaign when he found himself clean through. He took his eye off the ball though, slicing wide a gilded chance to leave Switzerland fearing for their future after collecting one point from two games.